Many of our favourite rap songs would be nothing but beautifully written spoken words, without the genius and creative work of music producers. This crop of folks, although relatively unknown to the general public, are as important to rap culture as the artists themselves. Music producers, just as the name implies, suggest they make beats, listen to artist’s demos, perform audio editing, and a myriad of other technical work responsible for the transition from a bunch of words on paper to the sweet, melodious hit songs we hear.
It is safe to say producers belong on the list of the most talented people on earth – playing more than one musical instrument, assisting rappers with lyrics composition, providing invaluable advice on songs, helping artists to achieve their desired sound amongst other things. Producers are, indeed, one indispensable pillar of the rap game.
Let’s proceed from general to specific and put the spotlight on Osabuohien Osaretin, popularly known by his stage name Sarz.
As far as Nigerian rap goes, Sarz is a figure of authority. His impact in making hip hop appealing to a larger audience cannot be overemphasized. In 2007, he linked up with Lord of Ajasa to produced the classic jam See Drama, since then he has produced tracks for rappers including Reminisce, eLDee, Dagrin, Ruggedman, M.I, Vector, Naeto C, Phyno and many more. Once you hear his production signature, Sarz on the beat or Really, be rest assured you’re in for a tuneful joint.
From 2009 through 2012, Sarz was definitely in his Dragon mode. Every song produced by him was straight Dracarys. Naeto C’s Super C Season, Reminisce’s Kako Bi Chicken, Shank’s Ghetto Remix, DaGrin’s Kondo (inarguably one of the best rap songs to ever come out of Nigeria), eLDee’s Been There Done That etc., all came from the stables of this soundman.
By the end of 2012, Sarz was nominated for the Nigeria Entertainment Awards in the Producers of the Year category alongside the legendary Don Jazzy. Jazzy won but later gave the award to Sarz.
In all honesty, this writer believes, without fear of contradiction, that there is no greater proof of excellence than this.
Here is a playlist of Top Hip Hop songs from Sarz Production.
Lord of Ajasa – See Drama: Funky beat, suitable for dancehall, party songs, and street hardcore rap. The smooth fusion of trumpet and drums would send chills down the spine of anyone who appreciates good sound. The relevance of this song today, even as it was made in 2007, is yet another piece of evidence that music is timeless.
Ruggedman – Banging: It is no news that Nigerian hip hop gained acceptance only with the combination of rap and pop otherwise called melodious rap. Sarz tailored this beat perfectly for such a song, it was so easy for the legendary Ruggedman to deliver the hook and verses. Banging got youths and millennials grooving back in 2011.
Shank – King Kong: Today, Jesse Jagz is known for the Reggae type of rap, however, before him, there was Shank. This is just another Sarz produced beat that is nothing short of perfection. The keyboard chords, the bouncing drumline, and their smooth synergy gave that sensational Reggae-Rap feeling.
Dagrin – Kondo: Anytime we put out the question, “Which song made you start listening to Nigerian hip hop?”. The answers always vary between Modenine’s Cry, M.I’s Safe and DaGrin’s Kondo. Every rap enthusiast will agree that Kondo marked an important point in the evolution of rap music in Nigeria, some would even argue that it belongs in the Hall Of Fame of great hip hop songs. But what we don’t talk about enough is the amazing instrumental produced by the master beatmaker, Sarz. Almost every rapper in Nigeria, both established and upcoming, jumped on the beat back in 2009.
Other songs include:
- IceBerg Slim feat DaGrin – I made it
- Hennessey Artistry – No be Water feat Praiz, Burna Boy, Vector.
- M.I: Rich Feat. Koker
- Jahbless: Jor oh! Remix Feat Iceprince, Reminisce, Durella, Ruggedman, Eldee etc.